Finding the way back

My husband has been asking me how long it has been since I posted to my blog. I realized that it been a little while. I did something so many of us easily do and that is to get caught up in life. I stopped making myself a priority and it was all downhill from there. It is crazy how easy it was to convince myself that I would be able to take some downtime after this load of wash or tonight after dinner only for it to be shoved under the rug. The truth is, there will always be a load of clothes needing to be washed and there will always be dirt to sweep up, but the opportunity that was brushed aside so I could do just one more thing will not always be there. That reminds me of Columbo, who always turned around to face his suspect or witness to say “just one more thing”.

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Iyanla Vanzant, in a devotional book I have, said that we must live by the Universal Order of things: God, me, family and friends, then work. I have found this to be easier said than done but well worth it when I have followed it. What stops me from prioritizing? Fear of losing control? Did I ever have control in the first place?

The boys had a follow up appointment at the cardiologist and we found out that Christian’s heart has worsened some. This was expected but painful to hear. I figure I have two options. One is to roll over and live in fear and the other is to make the most of each day, each moment and to never stop hoping, loving and praying.

There are numerous verses throughout God’s Word that instruct us to lean on him for strength. That we must do the best we can at what we do and let Him handle the rest. Anxiety and stress only keep God from helping us. He wants us to live the good life and to love and love some more!

It is important to MAKE the time to do the things we enjoy. We will feel better and our families will thank us!

Battleborn

Ever since the tragedy in Connecticut, I have felt lost, betrayed, sad, anxious and in other ways that I have trouble finding words to describe.  I am sure many of us feel this way.  I have been unsure of what to post until a few minutes ago when Battleborn by The Killers came on while I was finishing up the dishes.  I stopped mid track to really listen to the lyrics:

You lost faith in the human spirit

You walk around like a ghost

Your star-spangled heart

Took a train for the coast

This is exactly how I have felt at times.  Anyone else?  How about:

When you shine you’re a hilltop mansion

So how’d you lose the light?

Was it blown by the wind,

In the still of the night?

I have felt like my light has been blown out and I caught myself cursing the darkness last evening when I went on a rant about guns.  All it did was make me more upset.  Cursing the darkness is futile, wasteful thinking and speaking.  The song goes on to say “We’re up against the wall” and this is good:

When they knock you down

You’re gonna get back on your feet

In the community where this tragedy took place, in the state of Connecticut, and in our country, we will be there for each other and we will get back on our feet!  And finally:

When they break your heart

When they cause your soul to mourn

Remember what I said

Boy you was battle born

This tragedy broke our hearts and we grieve for the little ones, teachers and principle and their families and the entire community.  We need to remember that we are battle born.  We will never stop loving one another, caring and reaching out.  We are strong and will never back down against the evil and injustice in this world!

Check out this song on Grooveshark or Spotify and listen along and see if it doesn’t make you want to get up and shine your light instead of cursing the darkness!

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Special birthdays

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Today, my mother-in-law, Faith, would have been 60.  Sadly, we lost her in 2011.  She was not your typical mother-in-law.  I always thought of her as my friend.  Never did she make me feel bad for who I am, she never criticized me and she was always honest.  In 1998, she flew from Kentucky to Montana to visit and we spent a lot of time together – going to lunch, shopping, talking and we dressed up to go out for dinner because it was her son’s birthday.  I cried when she left.  Unfortunately from living so far away, we were not able to visit as much as we liked to but she always called about once a month to have a nice chat with my husband.  We didn’t talk on the phone much but we did write letters.  I have the last letter she wrote to us and I will always keep it.  When we were able to visit, it was like picking up where we left off before.  On one of the last trips over to Kentucky, she gave me her mother’s ring.  I will cherish it always.

Even though she is gone and we miss her everyday, I know Faith is smiling down on us and keeping an eye on her grandchildren.  I also know that if she were here, she would still take my side when Dave and I disagree.  I love you Faith and miss you so much!

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Today is also my late grandfather’s birthday.  Everyone called him Pete.  Grandpa enjoyed visiting with people and drinking coffee (poison as he called it).  He also owned a huge, I mean huge garden that my sister and I spent many a summer day picking vegetables and eating them to our hearts content, dirt and all.  He also liked going out to his claim in the mountains.

What I miss most about him is his laugh.  It was explosive.  My husband enjoyed hearing him tell some of his stories from when he was in the Navy.  I only remember 2 times in my entire life that my grandpa was ever mad.  Once was when I lost a watch that he gave me for my birthday and the other was when I was a rotten, rebellious teenager.  Boy did I deserve it and more!

Grandpa took my sister, Sherry, and I to church every Sunday and out to lunch afterwards.  We would eat at either the Snow White Cafe or Woolworths.  There were not very many Sundays that we didn’t go.  I am forever grateful for everything my grandpa did for me and for everything that he was.  I love and miss you Grandpa!

Today is the birthday of two wonderful people who I have been blessed to have in my life.  I love you Faith and Grandpa and I know you are at peace.

Coffee talk

Fireplace at Faster Basset
Fireplace at Faster Basset

Today was my day to get out of the house for a couple of hours.  Our van is in the shop until next week to have the back doors modified, so I took the chance while I had it.  The boys have grown so much that we are having the back doors enlarged and the opening made bigger so they can drive into the van without bending over.  We are so excited to have this done!  For the longest time, when we have gone places, we have had to limit the amount of stops or have the boys stay in the van for some of them so their backs wouldn’t become so sore from bending over.  What a blessing it will be to not have to worry about that anymore!

Anyway, back to the getting away bit.  When I am able to get out by myself, my favorite place to hang out is Faster Basset.  They are a locally owned coffee shop that started out as a food cart.  They are known for their crepes.  I have yet to try one.  They use direct trade coffee from Missoula and it is oh so good!   I drink my coffee black so I cannot drink Starbucks very often – talk about strong and making your mouth draw inward from dryness.  Remember when the coyote on the Road Runner show ate alum and his mouth drew in?  Yep.  Starbucks.

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Back to Faster Basset.  Locally owned coffee shops are the best.  The sounds, scent of freshly ground coffee, the warmth of the fire.  This particular shop has the Public House on the other side.  They serve beer and there is a huge window where you can see the giant drums that they make the beer in.  I haven’t ventured over on that side too much but it seems like people enjoy it.  On the tables are flower arrangements from a locally owned flower shop called Voila.  Beautiful.  With my book and coffee, I am in my own little heaven.

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Do you have a favorite coffee shop where you enjoy talking with friends or reading a good novel?

 

 

 

 

 

Just keep swimming!

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I am having one of those days when my body does not want to cooperate with my mind.  Sometimes, despite my best efforts in my diet, I still experience inflammation.  Unfortunately, this does not mean that I can stop moving.  On days like today, I need to motivate myself and Dory from Finding Nemo is always there for me.  Remember when Dory and Marlin were descending into that deep pit in the ocean?  She started to sing “just keep swimming, just keep swimming”.  I used to keep a little plastic toy of Dory close by so I could be reminded to just keep swimming!  I also often have to remind myself that it is all right if I am slow because at least I am moving forward.

Maybe more of us need to be like Dory.  She was curious, joyful and full of life.  I find myself to be like Marlin, fearful of trying new things, a little uptight and sometimes needing someone like her to hold my hand as I swim down into the unknown.

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If I need a good laugh, I can listen to her try to communicate with whales.

thI think that many of us can identify with at least one character in a Pixar movie or any movie and sometimes that can motivate us to keep on trudging towards victory no matter how we may feel!  Is there a cartoon/Pixar/movie character that you can identify with?

A lesson in poetry

The road less traveled

The road less traveled

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

…Robert Frost

I was never very good at interpreting poetry in school but “The road less traveled” is one that I have been able to relate to a good portion of my life.  One that many of us have.  We face choices every single day and most of the time, not having the slightest idea what the outcome will be.  We try to see into the future as far as we can, thinking of every single way a situation can turn out.  We rely on our gut instinct, or pray about it, hoping it will all turn out okay.

I am often in this situation each day in dealing with the boys’ MD.  Whether the decision is big, such as whether a surgery will be worth the risk; or small, such as what to give the boys for dinner, we stand at the edge of the wood like Robert Frost did.  We have made good decisions, such as keeping the boys on a wholesome, mostly vegetarian diet to reduce inflammation; and we have made bad decisions, such as staying in a hotel room with unaccessible features that ended up causing prolonged back pain for Christian.  With every choice we all do our best and that is all that matters.  I firmly believe, and have experienced, that God helps us out of difficult situations that were the result of a bad choice because He knows that our choices are made out of love.  I also firmly believe that every choice we have made, good and bad, has brought the boys to where they are today – happy, healthy and full of vigor for life!

The path we are on is also the less traveled one.  We have made many choices that we knew would require more work but did it anyway because we wanted to do what was best for the boys.  I read a saying that basically said that when we make the hard decisions today, it will make for a better tomorrow.  This has been true in our case.  We opted for the boys to have spinal fusion to correct their scoliosis and as a result, they sit up better in their chairs and their lungs can fully expand.

Drew before his spinal fusion surgery at Shriners
Drew before his spinal fusion surgery at Shriners
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After spinal fusion

We will continue to face big and small decisions and an unknown future.  This can create a lot of fear and a good amount of uncertainty, but if we do the best we can with what we have today, it will all turn out just fine.  All I have to do is see one of the boys’ beautiful smiles to know this.

Ma Haney

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Years ago, my husband’s grandmother from Tennessee, Dona Haney, told me that I needed to write a book to tell of our everyday experience and struggles with muscular dystrophy.  I thought it sounded like a brilliant idea but something that I would need to hold off on for a while.  Well, maybe this could be the beginning!

Dona and Dave’s grandfather, Gene Haney, have driven all the way up here from Tennessee several times to visit.  They are in their 80’s and enjoy traveling.  Dave has always called them Ma and Pa.  Ma, despite her congestive heart failure and diabetes, has continued doing what she enjoys such as going to the Smokey Mountains, attending family reunions and weddings, traveling all the way to Montana and California and spending a lot of time with family.

Even though it was tiring and they had to stay in a hotel while they were here, Ma and Pa made it over for the boys GED graduation this past spring!  It was a wonderful time.

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Our neighbors, Len and JoAnn, came over to celebrate with us as they usually do for special events.  I was playing the Gene Autrey radio station on Pandora (since Len likes a little “C & W” as he calls it) and him and Pa were seeing who could guess what song was on.  It was great!

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Although Len and Pa had only spoken once before on a previous visit, they really hit it off!  People from their generation are more easy going I guess!

I wanted to share this with you because it was Ma who inspired me years ago to tell our story.  She is an inspiration to me in so many ways, Pa too.  They worked hard through life to earn everything they own, they are always willing to help others and they are a blessing.  Before they left this past spring, Pa’s advice to me was to not take life so seriously because it goes by too fast!  God bless and enjoy the rest of your Sunday all!

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